Secular poem (with a religious sense) about a homeless woman who lived in the backyard of a house in Marin County, California (Town of Larkspur). At the time the aspiring poet lived in a very rundown rooming house, and in the backyard lived a woman who told her tale to the poet Peter Menkin. These words from "Peter Menkin blog" describe the poem:
"When I think back some years ago to 2000, I recall the woman who had no home and lived in the backyard of the house where I stayed. Technically, she was homeless. Yet she had a job, owned a car, and went to a university (she told me she could shower there between classes). I don't want to ruin the poem, which is spiritual in the sense that Rowan Williams writes about creation and other human beings' lives:
"...by opening to all a share in the fellowship of Christ's body...the human God had established, as abiding tokens of his presence, material acts and objects, bread, wine and water, and so declared all material existence to be potentially charged with the life of God." I read that recently in his book, "On Christian Theology: Challenges in contemporary theology." I make my way through this very interesting and thought provoking book on living the Christian life and living a life in communion as a member of the Episcopal Church. I do believe this so, by the way, of other communions. That is my ecumenical hope.
So you see, if you like me believe that we share others lives and have some responsibility towards them, you too may find this poem about the woman without a home both important and interesting. It is a story about love, too."
Though the quote above has a message, the poem is not a message poem, per se.
These words from the poem:
this one sleeps in the backyard
under plum trees and raccoon
rooftop trails in a tent,
in a greenhouse among redwood
trees, and showers at the university
in the city-- liking soap...